How Often Should You Change the Water in an Above Ground Pool?

above ground pool water splashing
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If you’re wondering how often you should change the water in an above-ground pool, the answer may surprise you. You may only need to swap it out every three to five years.

Factors That Effective Frequency of Pool Water Changes

The frequency of changing the water in an above-ground pool depends on several factors, including water quality, maintenance practices, and environmental conditions.

Regular Maintenance

It is recommended to maintain proper water chemistry by regularly testing and adjusting the pH, chlorine, and other chemical levels.

Regularly cleaning and sanitizing the pool, including skimming debris and vacuuming, will help maintain water quality.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors such as weather conditions, surrounding vegetation, and pool usage can affect water quality. Pools located in areas with high temperatures, heavy rainfall, or lots of debris may require more frequent water changes.

Water Quality Issues

If you experience persistent water quality issues despite regular maintenance and treatment, such as cloudy water, algae growth, or excessive contaminants, it may be necessary to change the water.

Sometimes, it's easier and more effective to start with fresh water rather than continuously trying to correct water chemistry issues.

Manufacturer Recommendations

Consult the manufacturer's guidelines for your specific above-ground pool. They may provide specific recommendations for water change intervals based on the pool size, filtration system, and other factors.

How Often Do You Need to Top up Water in the Pool?

At times, you’ll notice the water level dropping in your pool. This happens for a variety of reasons and is remedied by adding water.

The frequency of topping up the water in a pool can vary depending on factors such as weather conditions, pool usage, evaporation rate, and potential water loss due to splash-out or backwashing.

Generally, it's a good practice to monitor the water level regularly and top up as needed to maintain the optimal level.

The frequency will fluctuate based on several factors.

Noticeable Drop in Water Level

Keep an eye on the water level and visually inspect it regularly. If you notice the water level dropping below the recommended level, it's time to add water.


Evaporation is a natural process that causes water loss in the pool. The rate of evaporation depends on factors like temperature, humidity, wind, and pool size.

In hot and dry climates, evaporation can be more significant. Using a pool cover reduces evaporation.

You can estimate the evaporation rate by consulting local weather data.

If you notice significant water loss due to evaporation, topping up the pool may be necessary more frequently.

Pool Usage

If you have an active pool with frequent swimming, splashing, or water play, the water level may decrease faster. Monitor the water level closely during periods of high pool usage and replenish as needed.

Backwashing and Splash-out

Backwashing a pool filter or experiencing water splash-out during pool activities can also contribute to water loss. After backwashing the filter or any activities that may cause water to leave the pool, check the water level and top up if necessary.

It's worth mentioning that while topping up water is necessary to maintain the appropriate water level for enjoyment, it's essential to ensure the water chemistry remains balanced after doing so.

Regularly testing and adjusting the chemical levels will help keep the water safe and clean.

girl in pool on floating toy

How Do I Keep My Above-Ground Pool Water Fresh?

Obviously, the goal is not only to avoid the need to change the water in your above-ground pool, but to keep it sparkling clean and clear too. Take steps on a regular basis to maintain high standards of water quality.

Regular Water Testing

Use a pool water testing kit to regularly monitor the chemical levels in your pool, including pH, chlorine, alkalinity, and calcium hardness. Maintain the recommended levels to ensure balanced water chemistry.

Proper Filtration and Circulation

Run your pool's filtration system for the recommended duration each day to remove debris, dirt, and contaminants from the water. Adequate circulation helps distribute the chemicals evenly and prevents stagnant water.

Chlorine or Sanitizers

Use an appropriate sanitizer, typically chlorine, to kill bacteria, algae, and other microorganisms in the water. Maintain the recommended chlorine levels based on the type of sanitizer you use.

You can choose from traditional chlorine, salt chlorination systems, or other sanitizing methods based on your preference.

Shock Treatment

Periodically shock the pool water with a chlorine-based shock treatment to eliminate any accumulated contaminants or algae. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for dosage and application.

Skimming and Cleaning

Regularly skim the surface of the pool with a net to remove leaves, insects, and other debris. Clean the pool walls and floor using a pool brush or vacuum to prevent the buildup of dirt or algae.

Proper Water Balance

Maintain the recommended pH and alkalinity levels to prevent scale formation, corrosion, and skin/eye irritation. Adjust the levels as needed using appropriate chemicals.

Regular Maintenance

Check and clean your pool's filter regularly to ensure it is functioning properly and effectively removing impurities. Backwash or clean the filter according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Cover the Pool

When the pool is not in use, cover it with a pool cover to prevent debris from falling in and to reduce evaporation. This helps to maintain water cleanliness and reduce the need for additional chemicals.

Regular Water Replacement

Despite regular maintenance, over time, the water may accumulate dissolved solids and become unbalanced. Depending on the water quality and usage, consider partially or completely replacing the water every few years to start fresh.

What Should You Not Do with an Above Ground Pool?

When it comes to above-ground pools, there are certain things you should avoid to ensure the safety, longevity, and proper functioning of the pool. Here are some notable inclusions

Digging or Excavating

Above-ground pools are designed to be installed on a level surface without any excavation. Avoid digging or excavating the ground beneath the pool as it can compromise the structural integrity and stability of the pool.


Do not overfill the pool beyond its recommended capacity. Overfilling can put excessive stress on the pool walls and cause damage or even collapse.

Using the Wrong Chemicals

Avoid using chemicals that are not specifically designed for pool use or are incompatible with your pool type. Use pool-grade chemicals and follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper dosage and application.

Neglecting Water Testing and Balancing

Regularly test the water and maintain proper chemical balance to prevent issues such as algae growth, scale formation, or corrosion.

Neglecting water testing and balancing can lead to poor water quality, equipment damage, and potential health hazards.

Ignoring Pool Maintenance

Proper maintenance is essential to keep your above-ground pool in good condition. Neglecting regular cleaning, filtration, and maintenance tasks can result in water contamination, clogged filters, equipment malfunction, or deteriorating pool surfaces.

Allowing Rough Play or Jumping from Unsafe Heights

For safety, discourage rough play, diving, or jumping from unsafe heights in or around the pool.

Above-ground pools are typically not designed for diving or jumping, and doing so can cause injury and damage to the pool structure.

Using Abrasive or Sharp Cleaning Tools

Avoid using abrasive or sharp cleaning tools that can damage the pool liner or surfaces. Use soft brushes, pool-friendly cleaners, and appropriate cleaning techniques to maintain the pool without causing harm.

Neglecting Safety Measures

Always prioritize safety around the pool. Install safety features like pool fences, gates, and alarms to prevent accidents, especially if you have children or pets. Follow local safety regulations and guidelines.

Ignoring Manufacturer's Instructions

Read and follow the manufacturer's instructions for installation, maintenance, and usage of your specific above-ground pool model. Ignoring these instructions can lead to performance issues, void warranties, and compromise safety.

large rectangular above ground pool

Is an Above Ground Pool a Lot of Maintenance?

While the above list of what not to do with an above-ground pool may make you question whether it’s worth the effort, the truth is that above-ground pools don’t require a lot of maintenance.

Typically testing and adjusting the chemicals once per week will keep your water ready for action. The amount and types of chemicals may vary depending on the cloudiness or pH levels, but most imbalances are quickly remedied.

At the end of each use, you’ll want to make sure to lock gates, cover the pool, and put chemicals away. In addition, set reminders to turn off the pump when it’s not needed. Better yet, put it on a timer for regular cleanings.

Speaking of the filter, in regard to maintenance, you can expect to replace it at least once per month. Check it often and rinse it in between replacements as necessary.

Also monitor your pump to ensure there are no blockages that can inhibit its function.

What Does Rainwater Do to an Above Ground Pool?

When it comes to water levels in your above-ground pool, it’s common to wonder about the effects of rain.

Rainwater can have both positive and negative effects on an above-ground pool.

While it’s a natural source of counterbalancing evaporation, rainwater can also skew the chemical balance in the pool. This dilution can affect the pH level, chlorine concentration, and overall water chemistry.

It may require additional testing and adjustments to maintain proper chemical balance.

Rainwater can also introduce contaminants into the pool. It can carry pollutants, dust, debris, leaves, and other organic matter, which can lead to poor water quality, increased algae growth, and potential clogging of filters and equipment.

Depending on the intensity and duration of rainfall, it can cause the water level in the pool to rise. Excessive rainwater can overflow the pool, resulting in water wastage, potential flooding, or damage to the pool surroundings.

Another potential issue of rainwater and an above-ground pool is that rainwater can accumulate on top of pool covers.

Excessive water buildup on the cover can put pressure on it and potentially damage the cover or cause it to sag. It's important to remove accumulated water from the cover to prevent damage.

To mitigate the effects of rainwater on an above-ground pool, regularly perform maintenance tasks like skimming the water, changing the filters, and balancing chemicals.

Should You Run a Pool Filter 24 Hours a Day?

Your pool filter plays an important role in the overall health of your pool water. Therefore, it also affects the need to change your above-ground pool water. However, the needed frequency of running a pool filter varies depending on a variety of factors, such as pool size, usage, and water conditions.

Larger pools or pools with high usage may require longer filtration cycles to maintain water quality. If you have a small pool or it is not heavily used, running the filter for shorter durations may be sufficient.

If your pool regularly experiences high debris or organic matter, such as leaves, pollen, or algae, it may be necessary to run the filter for longer periods to help keep the water clean and clear.

The type and efficiency of your filtration system also play a role. A more efficient filter system may require shorter filtration cycles compared to a less efficient one.

Running the pool filter continuously can lead to increased energy consumption and higher utility costs. Consider energy-efficient options, such as variable-speed pumps, which allow you to adjust the filtration speed and duration as needed.

The filtration system helps circulate the water, which aids in distributing chemicals and maintaining consistent water chemistry. Running the filter for an appropriate duration ensures proper circulation and helps prevent stagnant areas in the pool.

It is generally recommended to run the pool filter for at least 6 to 8 hours a day, ensuring that all the pool water passes through the filter at least once.

You may need to adjust this duration based on the factors mentioned above.

Regularly monitor the water quality, check the pressure gauge on the filter system, and observe the clarity of the water. If you notice signs of poor water quality or excessive debris, you may need to increase the filtration time temporarily until the issue is resolved.

Consult the manufacturer's recommendations for your specific pool filter system and consider seeking advice from a pool professional to determine the ideal filtration duration for your pool based on its specific characteristics and conditions.

How High Should the Water Level Be in an Above-Ground Pool?

The water level in an above-ground pool should generally be maintained within a specific range for optimal performance and safety. It’s imperative you do not overfill your pool. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for your specific pool.

There are some general guidelines that can help you identify whether the pool level is within the ideal range.

Skimmer Level

The water level should be maintained at a level that allows the skimmer to operate effectively. The skimmer is responsible for removing debris from the water's surface, so it needs to be submerged adequately.

Typically, the water level should be about halfway up the opening of the skimmer or as recommended by the pool manufacturer.

Pump and Filter Operation

The water level should be high enough to ensure proper operation of the pool's pump and filter system. The water needs to reach the intake port of the pump to allow it to draw water effectively and avoid running dry.

Freeze Protection

In regions where freezing temperatures are a concern, lower the water level slightly below the skimmer opening to allow for expansion when the water freezes. This helps prevent damage to the pool walls or equipment.

In general, aim to keep the water level within a range of about 1 inch below the skimmer opening or as recommended by the pool manufacturer.

Regularly monitor the water level and make adjustments as needed to ensure proper skimming, filtration, and equipment operation.

Since you’re the DIY type, you might be wondering if Is It Cheaper to Build an Above Ground Pool? If not, take a look at What Is the Best Above Ground Pool for the Money?